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A direct contempt is a contempt that is committed in an open court. For example, when a lawyer insults a judge on the bench, it results in a direct contempt.
The following is an example of a state statute (Maryland) defining the term:
According to Md. Rule 15-202, "Direct contempt" means a contempt committed in the presence of the judge presiding in court or so near to the judge as to interrupt the court's proceedings.